Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LAW.COM Newswire Highlights September 28, 2010

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Citing 'Egregious Breach,' Judge Slashes BAR/BRI Fees
The National Law Journal

The roller-coaster ride isn't over for plaintiffs lawyers attempting to recover fees in the antitrust case against the parent company of BAR/BRI. U.S. District Judge Manuel Real, citing an "egregious breach of McGuireWoods's ethical duties," on Monday granted $500,000 in fees to the firm -- significantly less than the $12 million originally awarded in a $49 million settlement in 2007 that resolved a class action by 300,000 consumers who alleged West Publishing conspired to monopolize the bar exam review course market.

'D.C. 25' Report Shows Law Firms' Pain on the Potomac
The National Law Journal

The Beltway is no longer a barrier against the pitfalls of a down economy. The majority of Washington, D.C.'s top-grossing law firms saw revenues slide in 2009, and 2010 isn't shaping up to be a strong year either, firm leaders say. The National Law Journal D.C. 25 survey, an annual ranking of the top moneymakers among Washington law offices, found that, for the first time in 11 years, the combined gross revenue for Washington's largest firms declined, falling 2.7 percent to $5.9 billion.

Another Bid for Privileged WaMu Documents Fails
The American Lawyer

A group of Texas bondholders became the latest group to make a grab for records of communication between Washington Mutual and its attorneys, and like most of those who came before them, the bondholders have failed to get what they wanted, according to court records and lawyers involved in the case. A federal bankruptcy court judge agreed with WaMu's lawyers that WaMu never used the attorney-client privilege as a "sword" to defend against a claim, and thus were free to use privilege as a "shield" against the request.

The Lawyers of the 'Forbes' 400
The American Lawyer

Forbes released its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans last week and according to The American Lawyer's analysis, 37 of those who made the cut are law school graduates. While most of them didn't accumulate their fortunes in the legal trade, Forbes does identify Houston's Joe Jamail as the nation's richest practicing attorney. Here are some of those that gave up billing by the hour in order to make billions.

Federal Prosecutor in Stevens Case Commits Suicide
The National Law Journal

A Justice Department prosecutor who played a lead role in the corruption case against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has committed suicide. Nicholas Marsh, who was transferred from the Public Integrity Section amid a criminal investigation of the government's handling of the case against Stevens, killed himself over the weekend. Marsh was one of a group of prosecutors who were under criminal investigation for the government's mishandling of the case.

Schwarzenegger Delays Calif. Execution so Courts Can Hear Appeals
The Associated Press

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday delayed by nearly two days the state's first execution since 2006 to allow more time for courts to consider the condemned inmate's appeals. Albert Greenwood Brown is now scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday. Brown's attorneys have filed simultaneous appeals to federal and state courts, arguing that the state improperly adopted new lethal injection procedures that result in cruel and unusual punishment.

Obama's Ex-Counsel Reveals White House Tensions
The National Law Journal

The possible departure of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel could shore up the standing of another prominent member of the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. That's according to Gregory Craig, who served as counsel to President Barack Obama until January. Craig had a contentious working relationship with Emanuel on issues of national security, as has Holder. And Craig's views on the subject -- picked up by a live microphone at a recent speech -- weren't meant to be public.

Citigroup's $75 Million Settlement With SEC Gets Green Light -- Almost
The American Lawyer

After keeping the parties' lawyers on pins and needles for over a month, Washington, D.C., federal district court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said Friday that she will "ultimately approve" Citigroup's $75 million settlement with the SEC over the bank's inadequate reporting of its exposure to subprime mortgage debt, provided that the SEC certifies Citigroup's revamped disclosure procedures and that the $75 million is used for compensating shareholders who suffered losses as a result of Citigroup's misstatements.

Attorney Says 'Sexting' Wis. Prosecutor to Resign
The Associated Press

A Wisconsin prosecutor facing removal from office over accusations that he abused his position in seeking relationships with vulnerable women will resign instead, his attorney said Monday. The attorney said Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who reportedly sent 30 text messages to a domestic abuse victim trying to strike up an affair while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend on a strangulation charge, will step down before Oct. 8, the date set for a hearing to hear testimony on his possible removal from office.

Two Years Later, Witness Intimidation Case Against Attorney Dropped
New York Law Journal

The two-year legal odyssey of Arienne Irving, the New York defense attorney who faced life in prison for her alleged role in a violent plot to intimidate witnesses on behalf of a Guyanese drug kingpin, is officially over. Without giving an explanation, the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office withdrew its appeal Monday of Judge John Gleeson's decision to throw out a jury verdict convicting Irving of six felonies. Irving's co-defendant and former boss, Robert Simels, is serving a 14-year sentence in a federal prison.

After Landmark Supreme Court Case, Citizens United Group Finds Its Niche
The Associated Press

In a pair of town houses less than 10 blocks from where the Supreme Court gave his group a place in legal history, David Bossie is making movies and cutting a path for a new art form: the nonpolitical political ad. Bossie is the president of Citizens United, a conservative group whose anti-Hillary Clinton movie in 2008 led to a landmark ruling this year, when the Court threw out parts of a 63-year-old law prohibiting corporations and unions from paying to air ads for or against political candidates.

Clients Told to Rethink Taking IRS Amnesty Offer on Unreported Offshore Bank Accounts
Daily Business Review

With the IRS baring its teeth at anyone with an unreported offshore bank account, the rule of thumb was to submit to the agency's compliance program to avoid fines or prosecution. But after the amnesty program's expiration, tax litigators are not as ready to suggest their clients throw themselves under the IRS bus. Some are even opting out of the program that was so successful in the aftermath of the UBS investigation last year, which resulted in a $780 million fine for the bank and the revealing of American tax dodgers.
Visit International News

Labor Disputes Arising out of Social Media
The National Law Journal

With a Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitter feed, the NLRB seems poised to address disputes over social media in the workplace. Will employers who allow nonbusiness use of social media, but exclude their use for union-related activity, be found in violation of federal labor laws?
Visit Legal Technology

What One Deferred Associate Learned During His Internship
The American Lawyer

Andrew Ardinger, a deferred associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, is finishing up his one-year internship at the Public Interest Law Project, and will be starting work soon at the firm. He discusses some of the benefits he has received by working at the nonprofit organization.

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